tv Democracy Now LINKTV June 3, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT
him. heis a remarkable figure as talks about looking at economics in a very different way. i had not even heard of him before. the whole team was there. he was sitting in the corner in germany. it was snowing outside, but he found a place where there were rays of sun coming in. he said no one could interview, he was reading. then he said for sure he would not do this. and then we pleaded. finally, just to cast off these pests he agreed to a few minutes. he stood up and was a mountain of a man. he came down into our makeshift studio and we sat down. we thought we might have a few minutes and he would share a sound bite. whatnce he got going
unfolded was a remarkable discussion. his whole theory of barefoot economics. >> it is a metaphor that originated from experience. i work for about 10 years of my life in areas of extreme poverty, in the sierras, in urban areas. in latin america. time ibeginning of that was one day in an indian village in the sierra. it was an ugly day. it had been raining the whole time. in the slum across from me
another guy, not in the slum, in .he mud, we look at each other short guy, thin and hungry, jobless, five kids and the wife. he was an economist teaching in berkeley. we were looking at each other. and then suddenly i realized i had nothing coherent to say to that man. the circumstances, my language as an economist, was useless. i discovered that i had no language.
that was enough, the metaphor , whichfoot economics meant that stepping to the mat and man must practice. studying and analyzing poverty, having all the statistics, they arel the models, convinced that they know everything they can about poverty, but they understand nothing about poverty. life inot changed my economics completely. i invented a language that is to hear it. >> what is that language? how do you apply economics or have those explanations change?
>> the thing is much deeper. 15 lessons, or satisfaction guaranteed or your money back, the point is much deeper. i would look at it this way. we have reached a point in the revolution where we know a hell of a lot. never in human history has there been such an accumulation as the last 100 years. look at where we are. what did we do with it? knowledge and not -- knowledge alone is not enough. i can get it as an example. let's assume you have studied everything you can study from a
theological, sociological, biological and even biochemical point of view of a human phenomenon called love. that you will know everything you can about love. but sooner or later you realize you will never understand it unless you fall in love. what does that mean? no? when you belong, you understand. collecting knowledge has been the function of science. scientists. understanding is holistic. that is how i understood poverty.
i understood poverty because i live with them, eight with them, slept with them. and then you begin to learn about the right environment with different values and different compared to the similarly your coming. what i have learned from the poor is much more than i learned from economics. but very few people have that experience. they look at it from the outside. you learn extraordinary things. the first thing is that people of want to work and do not know , in poverty there is enormous [indiscernible] you cannot be an idiot if you
worlds? when you are living in the communities where you have learned so much, what do those communities, people in those communities ask you, want to know from you? not so interested. we believe, you know, that they want to be like us. that they would overcome the problems when we look at much as possible -- when they looked as much as possible like we do, which is nonsense. i can give you lots of examples. for instance, the name of the in the time of kennedy with the young people?
>> the peace corps. >> the peace corps, yes. i found them in the field when i was there. it is like this. there you are, a woman making a point. instead of making two points bring one week, we would you a much better thing. they bring in, they come back a few months later. but how do you like your hair? really nice. how many points are you making?
two per week. i do not need to make war. why do you make just two? well, i make two, but i have more time with my friends. in our environment, you have to do more and more and more and more. making more they have more time to enjoy themselves and have a nice relationship with their friends, family, etc. learning values that we have lost. >> what do you think that we need to change? >> almost everything. we are simply, dramatically stupid. we know everything that should not be done.
there is no one that does not know that. particularly politicians, they know what should not be done. but they do it. now, how do you change that? i do not know, i do not have the recipe. but that is the definition of stupidity. the stupid act is the act the to command against the areas. [indiscernible] do not worry, you fall in it. that is stupidity. after what happened since october, 2008, you would say what? feel the model was not working. it seemed a poisonous. dramatically poisonous. what happened in the last meeting of the european union?
there are more fundamentalists now than before. so, the only thing that you can that one there will not be enough money anymore. oft is the consequen systematic human stupidity. now, why the hell are they so afraid to change when they know that this is an absolute correlation? instead of breaking it, they celebrate. against have a recipe that. i am very afraid to know what is coming. >> what do you think needs to change? you say it is thought lockhart. what do you think needs to happen that they are avoiding? crazy and poisonous.
i am an economist. fighting against the way that it has been talked for almost 40 years. that hasabsurd economy nothing to do with real life. if the model does not work it is not because the model is wrong, it is because reality plays foul tricks. that is the attitude. what is the economy being caught s?erywhere in the university'ie neo-classical economics, which is 19th century. so, we are supporters to sort our problems from the 21st century that have no precedent
with theories from the 19th century? we do not have any other remnants from the century, biology, engineering, nothing. the only thing that stops is the concept of this economics. that is absurd. that is the way it must be. >> to avoid another catastrophe collision, if you were in charge, what would you say pass to happen? dramatic change. for me the problem begins in the university. universities have become accomplices. not teach you do something different, how the hell are you going to change the
professionals that are working? impossible. economics in in the early 1950's, it was different. we had some fundamental courses, like history and economics. have to know the history. it is not necessary. know whatnecessary to previous economists ever thought. it is not necessary. you do not need it. sure. know for this is it forever. it ceases to be a discipline and a science and it becomes a religion. so, first of all we need to concentrate on economics again. of where they come
from. second, economics understands itself very clearly as a sub- system of a larger system. growth is aic possibility. system understands it cannot function. nothing aboutw ecosystems. about the fear of dynamics, biodiversity, anything. they are totally ignorant. i do not see what harm it would disappeared, which the beast disappeared but there would be no food anymore but he does not know that. nature is a subsystem of the
economy. crazy.ely in addition bring consumption closer to production. . live in the south of chile ,n that area, my fantastic area technologically that is the maximum. in the south for breakfast they have butter from new zealand. crazy, you know? why? economics do not know how to calculate these costs, you know? 20,000g it from
kilometers, under the argument cheaper.as what is the impact of 20,000 kilometers of transport? the impact on the environment? because it is subsidized. never tell the truth. it is tricks. you bring consumption closer to production, you will eat better and have better food now. you will know where it comes from. the person who reviews it, you humanize. economies that these practice today is completely dehumanize. >> you do not think that the earth will force a different way of thinking? >> yes, yes. now i believe that there are
some very important scientists who are already saying -- i have not reached that point yet, but some believe that it is definite that we are finished. in a few more decades there will be nothing anymore. i do not think we have reached that point, but i believe we are pretty close to it. if you look at what is happening everywhere, it is quite frightening how the amount of catastrophe is all over the place. habib --arthquakes, earthquakes, the amount of events is growing dramatically. >> so, what gives you hope?
this all indicates a director of to catastrophe. what is the countervailing force? not know. i do not know. it is only helps. assumption is the really going to change. unfortunately. it will be much more dramatic. and then there will be the reaction -- now we have to change. who knows. there is a much talked about 2012 from the mayan calendar. of december 2012, colossal thing survived happen. era, a bitn a new
more enlightened than this one. >> what have you learned that gives you hope in the poor communities you have worked in and lived in? >> the people have respect for the others, mutual aid. no greed. quite the contrary. the more that you have, the more greedy you become. crisis is the product of greed. but persists, we are done. >> the principles that you would teach them?
economics and how it should be. one, the economists who serves as a lot of people, people serve the economy. development is about people. 3, growth is not the same as development and development does not necessarily require growth. is possible iny the absence of ecosystem theory. here, subsystem allowed permanent growth is impossible. the value to sustain a new economy should be no economic interests under no circumstance can be above the relevance of night.
>> explain that. >> nothing can be more important than life. i say life, not human beings. before for me it is the miracle of life in all of its manifestations. those economic interests, you forget about life. human beings. go through that list, what we have today is exactly the opposite. >> go back to history and development. explain that further. >> growth is a quantitative accumulation. is creative possibilities. natureiewing system in
rose to a certain point. you are not growing any more. him or me. else i would not be dialoguing here now. that is a thing that the population -- the politicians do not understand. when you study something, you become the author of a famous that inis that says every society there is a period of economic growth is conventionally understood. only up to a point. mored which if there is growth, life begins to decline. that is the situation we are now
in. your country is the most dramatic example the to confined. book thatchapter of a was -- will be published next month in england, the title of which is "economics unmasked." is a new category. is developed, developing, and underdeveloped. america, doing better and better. the 99% is going down. in all sorts of stations people cars, parking in front of the house, disabused to leave the house.
the speculators who brought about the whole mess? no problem. you turn that around? >> i do not know how to turn it around. it will turn around and sell. -- itself. millions of people can suddenly go in the street in the united states and start destroying things? i do not know. but it happens. the situation was absolutely dramatic. most supposed to be the powerful country in the world. spending more and more and more, trillions and trillions. $13 trillion for speculator, not 1 cent for the people that lost their homes. logic is that?
>> if you were president obama now, what would you do? >> i would not be president. [laughter] well, what i would do is what i am saying. age should have gone to the victims, you know? -- the people that could not go on paying their home, why not get new loans with better conditions so that they could preserve their home? the money injecting from the bottom up, these people have concerns -- consumed more. benefiting the people who have suffered? the banks and insurance companies, fine.
even that which has not managed to be taken home. what did your government do? nothing. it is legitimate. in the last meeting of the european union, the socialist arernment's, expenditures extremely important. we have still got everything. going back as a fundamentalist education, the elderly, etc., etc. what are they supposed to do? >> and do you have hope for president obama when he ran? >> i was absolutely fascinated.
i even cried when he was elected. but now i am disappointed. >> why did you cry then? >> at that moment i really thought that there had never been an opportunity for somebody to bring about a colossal and fantastic change which -- with the whole world behind him. never seen that, studying that opportunity. anything hee done wanted with the whole world behind him. that is exactly what he did not do. guantanamo is still there. iraq is still there. afghanistan is getting worse. lower taxes for the shin the rich. more bush. -- for the extremely rich.
more bush. >> what happened? >> how could i tell you. i am extremely, extremely sorry. >> you think it is reversible? >> i do not know. it is difficult to reverse. wasw days after he president, the you think he would go home today? was given today instead of six months ago? do you think it would have given it to him in the press today? he lost it. why? he could have gone into history as one of the most colossal men ever in human history because of that moment of real potential
for change. he could have done what you want. states, so colossally powerful and frightening. i do not know. you know about the lobbies and the pressures. some say it is not his fault, that it is so impossible for him to do what he wanted to do. because i like to the person very much. it was outside forces that impeded his own decision. the point to ask the reverse question about the power of movement and where are they?
>> there are much more stronger movements in the united states, except where there should not be a movement, like the tea parties, the ones to promote the mess. they are well organized now. for the people who are destroyed? they are totally numb. >> what was no. 4 after growth and development? no economics is possible in the absence of ecosystem service. >> that means? >> i told you what would happen if there was no photosynthesis. understanding what he is doing with economics, it is a phenomenon for life.
without the services of nature, the power of the sun, everything we can do. economics have absolutely no idea about nature. >> final thought? >> final thought? he wants to create victories dramatically. in the near future. toyou have been listening the german july an economist and remarkable thinker, author of many books, the latest is called "economics unmasked." we are making it available to you for $120. if you would like to get a double dee dee of not only this,
but of a series of remarkable thinkers and activists, we here at "democracy now!" went to germany to meet with winners of the alternative nobel awards. a double dvd of examples like these. world, in a globalized but we are so limited when it comes to getting information in the united states. a german parliamentarian who was single handedly, you know, working -- you cannot singlehandedly, but was this for solar power in germany. the reason half of the energy is solar power was his tireless work around solar power, working with europe and germany
to change the energy sources in their country to deal with global warming. we spent one hour with him and he is included in this dvd set. also included is the remarkable percy schneider, a former that took on monsanto. he is considered a rock star in germany. he was being asked to speak in city after city. we urge you to call right now and let us know if you are in the house. the number is 866-359-4334. if you would like to get the two dvd set of the thinker activists in germany, pledged $100 and it is yours. we urge you to call and stand up for independent media. your call makes a difference. in 1998 percy and his wife received a letter from monsanto claiming that they had used monsanto seeds without license
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economists who said that it was not until he lived with the people that he understood there had to be a different way of looking at economics that benefited all. for $120.s yours put them together for $200, they are all yours if you call 866- 359-4334. unmasked, from power and greed to passion for the common good." ofrcing a great majority humankind to live in poverty, threatening all forms of life on earth." a coach and critique is presented of the dominant economic system showing theoretical construction of mainstream economics working to mainly bring about injustice. get this set, get the book, we urge you to call right now. we ask you to stand up for
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